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Archive for hungary

Tasteful Art in Hungary

By Linda Tancs

In Ajka, Hungary, art never looked so tasteful. That’s where Hungarian artist and pastry chef Judit Czinkné Poór summons her inner Rembrandt and creates intricately designed and bedazzling cookies, often highlighted with doily designs and richly hued flowers embodying traditional folk art. Her business, Mézesmanna, arose from a love of pastry arts that takes her on worldwide expeditions teaching the tricks of her trade to motivated bakers. These treats are too good to eat, and they shouldn’t be. Although edible, Hungarian tradition is to dole them out as keepsakes for special occasions, giving a whole new spin to the notion of a sweet reminder.

A Memento in Budapest

By Linda Tancs

American writer and activist Maya Angelou observed that “history, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” Perhaps that thought best sums up the motivation behind Memento Park in Budapest, Hungary, a statue park paying lasting tribute to the biggest actors of the Cold War and their influencers. It houses 42 massive statues and monuments removed from Budapest after the fall of communism, including the likes of Stalin, Lenin, Marx, Engels and Red Army soldiers. Getting there can be challenging (requiring a combination of metro and bus travel) unless you’re able to take the direct bus at 11:00 a.m. from Deak Square.

Princess on the Promenade

By Linda Tancs

Created by László Marton in 1989, Budapest’s Little Princess is a bronze statue along the Danube promenade between the Chain Bridge and Elisabeth Bridge near Vigadó tér.  Reputedly the most photographed, it is but one of many gems in the city, including the statues at Castle Hill, the Holocaust monuments, the Liberty Monument atop Gellért Hill and the Time Wheel monument (the world’s largest hourglass) celebrating Hungary’s induction into the European Union.

The Grassalkovich Era

By Linda Tancs

The palace of Gödöllő is a baroque masterpiece just 20 miles northeast of Budapest, Hungary.  Commissioned by Count Antal Grassalkovich I in the early 1700s, its ornate Grand Hall, tapestried rooms, red marble bath, conservatory and theatre represent the life and times of the area’s nobility.  The palace remained in the possession of the Grassalkovich family until the death of the last male heir in the 1800s.  Later purchased for the Crown, it was the favorite palace of Elisabeth, Queen of Hungary.  The palace and its grounds are easily accessible by car, bus, train or suburban rail (HÉV).

King of Wines and Wine of Kings

By Linda Tancs

In the Eger-Tokaj region, a quiet, unassuming wine region less than three hours from Budapest, the world renowned Hungarian wine, the Tokaji Aszú, ages in the cellars as it has done for centuries.  Louis XIV called the sweet white wine produced here the wine of kings. During the first-ever Hungarian Wine Festival in America, you too can experience “the king of wines and the wine of kings.”  On 3 and 4 December, Kossuth House in downtown Miami will host the seminal event featuring wine tastings and techniques designed to show you that Magyar culture is more than paprika and goulash.

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Puppet Theatre in Budapest

By Linda Tancs

Puppet theatre isn’t just for kids, especially at Budapest’s puppet theatre located at Andrássy útca 69.  The show typically adapts classical musical works and dramas to puppetry using life-sized puppets operated by a crew of ten.  And the fee is reasonable at  $10 per person.  Ask your concierge for details.

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Gastronomy Rules in Budapest

By Linda Tancs

Hungary’s official website boasts “a love for life.”  Make that food, too–especially during the September Festival, taking place from 3 to 5 September in Budapest’s Bókay Garden.  This year’s eleventh running of the event will bring together internationally recognized master chefs, dance groups, Olympic and world champion athletes, politicians from the European Parliament, famous artists and 80,000 or so visitors who will dance, cook and otherwise enjoy themselves.  The emphasis, though, is on cooking, as evidenced by the  Strudel Festival, Sausage Festival and Pálinka (strong fruit brandy) Festival.  In fact, cooking is so much a part of the event that Guinness records are often made or broken.  Sought after records this year include a surprise meal in a 4,251-litres kettle and a Somló sponge cake with a diameter of about 3.4 metres.  Good luck to all!

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